A minute later she strolls casually back into the classroom. By my unofficial watch she has been gone twenty minutes. Twenty minutes that my son wandered around the “hands-on” fun activities that he didn’t get to participate in because he didn’t know how. There is no explanation by her, nor any apology. I am barely able to say to her “we were looking for you”. She only smiles and takes him away. I am too mad to say anything further or to stay in the classroom. I have to leave or I will tear this woman’s hair out. I march straight to the principal and tell him what has happened. He shows no shock or horror.
“I’m surprised she left him, she’s one of our best aides.” He says simply. As if that is supposed to erase the last twenty minutes of my son being unsupervised. I realize he is going to do nothing and I remind myself to be as un-confrontational as I can.
“What would have happened if he walked out that door?” I say as evenly as I can muster.
His eyebrows rise only slightly as I see clearly he is trying to keep a poker face. I feel a redness spreading up my neck. It’s anger, re,d hot anger. I unclench my hands and realize I have left deep nail marks, dark purple and in my own hands. I stare at them a minute trying to calm myself.
“It would have been a very bad day if he had gotten hurt. Bad for all of us.” I look up into his eyes hoping my threat is heard loud and clear. I wait to let the emphasis take its affect and stand to leave. I decide I have to say one last thing to him.
“She needs to be with him, right next to him at all times. That is what a one to one aide means.” I don’t speak again, I know from experience the one who speaks last in negotiations usually looses.
He nods, stands up, and reaches out his hand.
“Thank you.” I say and walk out. But he didn’t speak…does that mean I lost?
Thank you? For what? Endangering my kid and not even giving a shit? Wow. This is not the way it was supposed to go.
Then I have a thought that stops me in my tracks.
If she leaves him like this when I’m here…what does she do when I’m gone?